From education to employment

Nursing apprenticeship introduced by Exemplar Health Care across its network of homes

Trainee Nursing Associates (TNA) are in place across four Yorkshire Exemplar Health Care homes


A new nursing apprenticeship is being embraced by Exemplar Health Care throughout its 29-strong network of UK homes, providing nursing care for adults with complex needs.

The Trainee Nursing Associate (TNA) apprenticeship standard, rolled out by the government, has been developed to bridge the gap between care assistants and registered nurses. Exemplar’s participation in the scheme sees nine TNAs from four Exemplar homes in Barnsley, Rotherham and Sheffield continue their frontline care roles at their homes, supplemented with time at the University of Sheffield during the week.

With the aim of making social care more accessible to a younger generation, TNAs combine theory and on-the-job medical training in a two-year programme. Over the two years, trainees are mentored by a registered practitioner to learn a wide range of nursing skills.

Since taking up the role of Exemplar’s Head of Learning, Development and Talent in January this year, Claire Fretwell identified the need to mix workforce planning and career opportunities.

“Many health care providers continue fishing from the same pond of qualified nurses,” said Claire. “Unfortunately, the current talent pool doesn’t offer enough qualified registrants to keep providing the best quality, safe and effective care.

“It’s vital to have an agile, flexible workforce that can deliver continuing care for the complex needs of our service users, so growing our own talent within the care workforce seemed a no-brainer.”

Exemplar’s nine TNAs begin their training on the 16th October. The TNAs are due to receive their qualifications in Autumn 2021.

Then, early next year, Exemplar will roll out TNA opportunities across Exemplar’s care homes across the Humber, North West and Midlands regions.

Gemma Walker, Trainee Nursing Associate at Exemplar Health Care’s Dearnevale home, added:

“When I heard that Exemplar were offering an opportunity to boost my skills in care, I jumped at the chance. I’ve got a mortgage and a family to support. I’d never be able to train as a qualified nurse by taking three years out of work to be at uni. So, training as a Nursing Associate while staying in my role means I can learn and earn – which is key for me. It also means that I can progress in nursing without compromising on practical work experience, a key consideration for many employers in the care sector.”

With 29 homes across Yorkshire, the Midlands and the North West, Exemplar provides specialist nursing care homes for adults with complex needs arising from neuro-disability, brain injury and stroke, enduring mental ill-health, autism, learning disability and early-onset dementia.

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